The tile and stone installation industry is changing to meet the growing needs of installers and contractors to find the right product for the right job. The new ISO 13007 Standards for Adhesives and Grouts offer contractors the opportunity to bid projects based on the performance of mortars and grouts for a specific project's conditions. Contractor will have a clear picture of what the architect wants and will be able to use the most suitable products to insure a superior installation.
When architects, contractors and distributors begin using the new ISO 13007 performance standards classifications, they will reduce installation failures and callbacks. Fewer failures will result in increased good will from building owners and decreased liability for all those involved in the tile installation industry. The adhesive and grout manufacturers will help ensure the right product for the right job by supplying products that meet global performance standards, and the standards will be easy for everyone to use.
In the 1980s the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) set up the first standards for tile and stone installation materials. These standards outlined proper installation methods and minimum product performance requirements. Of these standards, the ANSI A118.1 and A118.4 standards helped distinguish between cementitious thin-set mortars that contain polymers (latex) and those that do not.
In the years since those standards were approved and implemented, the types of mortars have mushroomed to now include cementitious mortars, dispersion adhesives (mastics) and reaction resin adhesives (epoxies and urethanes). The cementitious mortars that fall under the A118.4 classification vary so much in performance that new performance-based standards are needed to help architects and specifiers differentiate them. Contractors also need an easy way to identify which mortars to bid on for a specification so that they are supplying the best product for the job conditions.
These needs were the main drivers behind the newly approved ISO 13007 Standards for Adhesives and Grouts for Ceramic Tile and Stone Installations, established by the International Organization for Standardization's Technical Committee 189. Comprised of the national standards bodies of many countries, the committee worked for several years to produce a detailed set of performance tests that could be reliably repeated to obtain standards against which commercial adhesives and grouts can be measured. These standards were approved in September 2005.
Manufacturers will use the test results to determine the classification of their adhesives and grouts for use in practical applications. Everyone in the industry - architects, specifiers, contractors, installers, distributors and retailers - will benefit from the new standards through easy-to-identify codes on manufacturers' adhesive and grout packaging. The codes will indicate which product should be used for installations in given application circumstances.
For example, suppose an architect is specifying a cementitious mortar for installing large-format tile on the exterior façade of a multi-story building located in a hot, arid region.
The architect will want the installers to use a mortar that will perform to an above-normal level if it is being used on the outside of a building. Referring to the ISO 13007 Classifications Chart (see below), he would specify a Type C (cementitious) Class 2 (improved bond strength) mortar.
The installation of tile on a vertical surface requires a mortar that is slip-resistant. By specifying a mortar classified as T (slip-resistant), the architect can be sure that the tile will not slip more than 0.0196" (0.5 mm).
Because the tile will be installed on the exterior surface of a multi-story building, the architect will be concerned with the ability of the mortar to stretch and flex with changes in temperature and movement of the building - in other words, how much the mortar could "deform" without losing its bond. According to the Classifications Chart, he would specify an S2 (highly deformable or flexible) mortar.
In writing the specification, the architect could simply state that the mortar must meet the ISO 13007 performance standards for a C2TES2 (improved cementitious, slip-resistant, extended-open-time, highly deformable) adhesive.
When he received the bid specifications, the contractor could contact his tile and stone installation materials distributor for a list of C2TES2 adhesives the distributor carries. The distributor would see the ISO 13007 Standard Classification codes placed on the packaging by the manufacturer and could accurately tell the contractor which product would be the correct one for his bid. The contractor could then bid the right mortar for the specified application, no longer worrying about someone underbidding the job with materials that might not meet the performance requirements.
As the example illustrates, everyone in the industry - from the manufacturer and distributor to the architect, contractor and installer - can benefit from using the ISO 13007 Standards for Tile and Stone Installation. The architect will have an unbiased set of performance standards from which to write specifications. The contractor can bid the right product for the right job without worrying about value-engineered substandard substitutions. The distributor can be confident that he is selling a product that is certified to do the job. The manufacturer can demonstrate he is producing products that will stand up to the rigors of the job-site conditions. ISO 13007 - there's something in it for everyone!